I’m so excited to share the cover of Em Shotwell’s novel, BLACKBIRD SUMMER, with you! Em is another one of those awesome writers I connected with during a Twitter pitch event sometime last year. It’s great to have people in your corner, complimenting your pitch and wishing you well in the midst of all the madness. Em and I bonded over our residence in the Deep Deep South (she’s in Southern Louisiana, I’m in Central Florida), and our love of drinking wine while writing (sidenote: Em, we need to re-institute #winoswrite ASAP!). BLACKBIRD SUMMER will be released this Spring from City Owl Press. Check out this gorgeous cover!
When people hate the unknown, being Gifted is a curse
In the cornerstone of the rural south, Brooklyn, Mississippi, no one dares make eye contact with the strange Caibre family. Until the rewards are worth the cost. The townsfolk come, cash in hand, always at night, to pay for services only a Gifted can provide.
No matter the Gifts prevalent in her family, at twenty-one, Tallulah is expected to follow the path laid out for her: marriage, babies, and helping her mama teach the family home school program. She’s resigned to live the quiet life and stay out of trouble…until she meets Logan.
An outsider and all around rebel, Logan doesn’t care about her family’s reputation. Yet after a tragic loss wreaks havoc on the crumbling relationship between the Caibres and the townsfolk, Tallulah must decide if love and freedom are worth risking everything.
I asked Em to share with me some songs that are evocative of her novel, and here’s the playlist she sent me!
I think the song that encompasses the overall feel of the book is “Dog Days Are Over” by Florence and the Machine. Yeah, yeah. I KNOW its really old. I KNOW it was played. And REplayed. And RE REplayed! But for me- this song just does it.
Let me explain why. Tallulah falls for Logan, even though she KNOWS she its impossible. Not only is it something that she shouldn’t do- but it is something that she knows that she shouldn’t even want. It will disrupt so many areas of her life and potentially separate her from the people that love her most. But still- she can’t help it.
Without giving away spoilers- Blackbird Summer isn’t only a romance. It is about trying to have a life in a place that hates you for something you have no control over. It is about trying to feel safe while knowing someone is out to hurt you and the ones you love. It is about love and heartbreak and family and figuring out who you are and who you want to be. It is about living the life you want with the person you want to live it with. Maybe the lyrics are perfectly in line with this- but I don’t know how to describe it other than it just feels right to me.
Tallulah + Logan 4ever:
Okay- so I had another song all picked out that would have worked really well when this song came on my Pistol Annies Pandora station–and I think it is PERFECT! Making Plans by Miranda Lambert.
Tallulah struggles with explaining her crazy family and situation to Logan. She constantly thinks that he is going to bolt when he experiences the Caibre family’s brand of dysfunction. The lyrics that sealed the deal for me were:
If I wasn’t by your side
I’d never be satisfied
Nothin’ would feel just right
If I wasn’t by your side
Cause I’m not easy to understand
But you know me like the back of your hand
I’m your girl and you’re my man
And we’re makin’ plans
That crazy Caibre-Somersby Clan:
Stranger by Devil Makes Three (one of my absolute favorite bands) reminds me of Tallulah’s family. Anyone on the outside looking in would be a little creeped out by the Caibre family, but since we are reading their story (more specifically Tallulah Caibre’s) it is easy to forget that.
This lyric in particular made me think of Tallulah’s grandma (a very powerful woman): Well, I’m alive like a sprouting seed, like the deepest roots of an ancient tree.
BONUS! Myrtle Delacroix- owner of Myrtle’s Diner:
Myrtle was a lot of fun to write. I love to hate her. She is trashy, and bossy, and gossipy…and terrified of Tallulah’s sister Delia (for good reason).
There are so so many songs that could be her individual soundtrack but Blowing Smoke by Kacey Musgraves ( I love her…don’t judge.) fit so well.
Between the lunch and dinner rush
Kelly caught that outbound bus for Vegas
We’re all out here talking trash, making bets
Lips wrapped round our cigarettes
She always thought she was too good to be a waitress
You can add BLACKBIRD SUMMER to your Goodreads list here!
Em Shotwell is the author of Blackbird Summer (City Owl Press, 2016). She lives in South Louisiana with a husband who spoils her and two mini-superheroes who call her mom. Em think the most interesting characters are the ones who live on the sidelines, and that small towns often hide the biggest secrets. She is inspired by tall tales and local legends.
When she’s not writing about misfits and oddballs, Em enjoys spending time outdoors hiking, and debating Doctor Who facts with her obsessed ten-year-old.